In season: community-supported agriculture programs
Two area farms, Coveyou Scenic Farm in Petoskey and Pond Hill Farm in Harbor Springs, will offer flexible community-supported agriculture programs for the 2013 season. (Courtesy photo/Coveyou Scenic Farm / March 19, 2013)
Through the programs, customers buy shares of vegetables. The share enables customers to pick up a box of produce from the farm each week. The produce is usually picked that day.
“We pick everything we grow on the farm that morning, so it’s about as fresh as you can get it,” said David Coveyou, who, along with wife Kathy, owns Coveyou Scenic Farm in Petoskey.
Because the shares sell produce grown on a farm, shares — which begin at Coveyou on June 1 — typically start with a lot of greens: broccoli raab, spinach, swiss chard, kale, peas and lettuces. In July, boxes start showing up containing some variety: the greens of June, but also with cauliflower, squash, cucumbers and other vegetables.
Pond Hill Farm used to operate the same way. At Pond Hill, a customer signed up for a share based on the size of his or her household and received a predetermined box of vegetables. Now, the farm is starting what it’s calling the “Freedom CSA Program.”
A Full Freedom Community-Supported Agriculture Share will cost $500, and customers will receive a card worth $600. A half Freedom share is $250, and customers receive a card worth $280. The card works just like a gift card: customers can use it at the farm in Harbor Springs or at any of the farmers markets in Harbor, Petoskey, Charlevoix or Boyne City that Pond Hill visits. Customers can also use the cards to purchase not just vegetables, but Pond Hill’s meats, canned goods, fresh eggs — anything the farm sells.
“That way, people don’t complain about kale,” joked Sharon Spencer, one of the owners of Pond Hill.
Spencer said there is no cap on how many people sign up for the service, which will start June 1. The card will remain good through Dec. 31.
“Before, we had to make sure there was enough of any one thing,” she said. “Now, people can pick what they want.”
At Coveyou, an individual has several different options. A premium box or pantry portion cost $475 or $300, respectively, and each runs 18 weeks, from June 19-Oct. 16. A summer premium box or summer pantry portion cost $290 or $190, respectively, and each runs 9 weeks, from July 3 through Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 2.
But this year, Coveyou will experiment with a new program: for a set fee, a customer can come to the farm at any time and pick up any amount of vegetables he or she wants.
“If they want to stop in every day and get a fresh salad, they can do that,” said Coveyou. “It’s really built on this model of eating truly fresh.”
The Open Market program will cost $450 for the first adult and $400 for the second adult for the full, 22-week season. The peak, nine-week season will cost the first adult $260 and the second $230. Children in the household age 4-21 will cost an additional $10 and $7, while additional adults will cost $350 and $200, respectively.
“I really believe that this is the key to people eating healthier on the whole,” said Coveyou. “They think, ‘I’ve already paid for this up front. I should be going to the farm and eating more of my meals that have a significant produce component to them. It’s not going to cost me more, because I’ve already paid for it.’”
The Coveyous and Pond Hill are both taking applications for their share programs. Coveyous’ program does not have a fixed deadline, but will have a cap.
“We’ll take just as many as we can comfortably grow for,” said Coveyou.
Applications for both programs can be found at the farms’ websites, at www.coveyouscenicfarm.com and www.pondhill.com.
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